How to Determine if a Candidate is a Good Cultural Fit

Cultural fit is a crucial component of a happy workforce. It is the ‘being on the same wave length’ as your colleagues, and having the same ethos as your company’s management.  It is having an office environment that allows you to be your best professional self, feel motivated and thrive. It is feeling like you have a work-family. And all the skills, experience and training in the world can’t make up for a poor match.

It would be great if this incredibly important variable in the hiring equation could be left to an algorithm, or AI (artificial intelligence). After all, AI can determine quite a lot.  But there is no AI or magic algorithm for determining a good cultural fit.  There is however, an equation we use that works for us nearly every time: Experienced recruitment consultant + Asks the right questions. Understanding whether a candidate is a good cultural fit can’t be left solely to gut feelings. You need to ask the right questions, and know whether the answers to those questions equate to a match made in heaven, or just something that ‘might work’. Here we offer some of the questions we like to ask when determining a truly good cultural fit.

1.      Describe the work environment or culture in which you are most productive and happy.

2.      What are the characteristics exhibited by the best boss you have ever had—or wish that you have had?

3.      Describe the management style that will bring forth your best work and efforts.

4.      What are the positive aspects of your current job and work environment, or the last position you held before coming to this interview?

5.      What is the single most important factor that must be present in your work environment for you to be successfully and happily employed? Now that you have answered that question, what were two others that you debated about responding before you gave the response that you chose?

6.      What is your preferred work style? Do you prefer working alone or as part of a team? What percentage of your time would you allocate to each, given a choice?

7.      How would your co-workers describe your work style and contributions in your former job?

8.      What are the three to five expectations that you have of senior leaders in an organization where you will work successfully?

9.      How would co-workers describe the role that you play on a team?

10.   What type of office environment suits you best? For example, relaxed, formal, high-pressure, etc.

By asking these questions, you will begin to see past any preconceived notions you may have on a personal level.  And while it may be more work, and extend the hiring process slightly, the benefits to hiring a candidate that is an ideal cultural match make it clearly worthwhile. Some of these benefits include:

Better Performance: The happiest and productive team achieve the best result. The reason is very simple, they enjoy working together by cooperating each other to complete the job in right manner. A good culture fit helps employees to perform their best which ultimately boosts company’s profit.

Greater job satisfaction: Organization’s work culture is a glue that holds employees together. Alignment with organization culture helps new employees to achieve professional as well as personal goals leading to better job satisfaction.

High employee retention: Companies with great culture fit leads to more productive and happy staff who stays with the organization for long-time. Employees who mesh well with the company’s culture fit, they are less likely to leave the organization.

Stronger strategic alignment: Successful organizations align work culture with strategies together with a common purpose. The alignment totally depends on how well the individual is fit to the rest of the organization. It also depends on how well they work together to achieve this common goal.

So the question really isn’t about whether finding a candidate that is a great cultural match is important.  It is, Can you afford to find one that isn’t?

About Oliver Parks

Oliver Parks Consulting offers search-based recruitment solutions to the technology sector, specialising in the ERP, CRM, CMS, ECM, BI and Open Source Technology spaces. The firm’s multilingual consultants operate in narrowly-defined niche market segments, enabling them to gain extensive knowledge of the people and companies operating in each technology.  Oliver Parks has a proven track-record with more than 100,000 candidates worldwide and more than 300 clients globally.